OHIO VALLEY — The latest numbers show unemployment rates have declined in Mason, Meigs and Gallia counties.
Mason County’s unemployment rate went from 12.9 percent in February to 11.9 percent in March - a one percent drop. Mason County has the third highest unemployment rate in the state, coming in behind Brooke County with 12.3 percent and Hancock County with 12.9 percent - the highest in the state. Monongalia County once again had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 4.4 percent. Unemployment rates were as follows for other neighboring as well as urban counties - Jackson County, 9.3 percent; Putnam County, 5.5 percent; Cabell County, 6.7 percent; Kanawha County, 5.8 percent.
Mason County was one of 53 counties which saw declining unemployment rates in March and overall, West Virginia saw its unemployment rate decline three-tenths of a percentage point to 6.9 percent. The number of unemployed state residents fell 2,100 to 55,400.
Meigs and Gallia counties continued the trend of declining unemployment rates. Meigs went from 13.8 percent unemployment in February to 12.7 percent in March. Meigs is ranked fourth in the state in terms of having the highest unemployment out of 88 counties, preceded by Morgan County with 12.58 percent, Ottawa County with 13.1 percent and Pike County with 14.7 percent unemployment.
Gallia County went from 10.3 percent unemployment in February to 9.3 percent in March. Gallia is ranked at number 26 out of 88 counties when it comes to unemployment rates. In Ohio, Mercer County had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.9 percent. Unemployment rates were as follows for other neighboring as well as urban counties - Franklin County, 6.8 percent; Athens County, 8.6 percent; Jackson County, 10.2 percent; Vinton County, 12 percent; Cuyahoga County, 7.1 percent.
Overall, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in March, down from 7.6 percent in February. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in March was 438,000, down from 443,000 in February. The number of unemployed has decreased by 73,000 in the past 12 months from 511,000.
The U.S. unemployment rate for March was 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent in February which means unemployment rates for both West Virginia and Ohio are still lower than the national average.